2019 Volkswagen e-Golf vs. 2019 Nissan Leaf

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The e-Golf has a standard Automatic Post-Collision Braking System, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Leaf doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The e-Golf SEL Premium has standard Maneuver Braking that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The Leaf doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

The e-Golf has standard Car-Net, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to remotely unlock your doors if you lock your keys in, help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The Leaf doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the e-Golf and the Leaf have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, rearview cameras, available crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

The e-Golf’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the Leaf’s (12 vs. 5 years).

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Volkswagen vehicles are more reliable than Nissan vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Volkswagen 12th in reliability, above the industry average. With 6 more problems per 100 vehicles, Nissan is ranked 15th.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the e-Golf gets better fuel mileage than the Leaf:

MPGe

e-Golf

Electric Motor

126 city/111 hwy

Leaf

Electric Motor (147 HP)

124 city/99 hwy

PLUS S Electric Motor

118 city/97 hwy

PLUS SV/SR Electric Motor

114 city/94 hwy

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the e-Golf’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the Leaf:

e-Golf

Leaf

Front Rotors

11.3 inches

11.1 inches

The e-Golf stops much shorter than the Leaf:

e-Golf

Leaf

70 to 0 MPH

175 feet

191 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

122 feet

129 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

The e-Golf has a standard space-saver spare tire so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the Leaf; it requires you to depend on roadside assistance and your vehicle will have to be towed.

Suspension and Handling

For superior ride and handling, the Volkswagen e-Golf has fully independent front and rear suspensions. An independent suspension allows the wheels to follow the road at the best angle for gripping the pavement, without compromising ride comfort. The Nissan Leaf has a rear torsion beam axle, with a semi-independent rear suspension.

The e-Golf SE handles at .86 G’s, while the Leaf SV pulls only .79 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

Chassis

The e-Golf is 8.3 inches shorter than the Leaf, making the e-Golf easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

The e-Golf has 1.6 inches more front shoulder room, .8 inches more rear headroom, 2.1 inches more rear legroom and 1.4 inches more rear shoulder room than the Leaf.

Cargo Capacity

The e-Golf has a larger trunk with its rear seat folded than the Leaf with its rear seat folded (52.7 vs. 30 cubic feet).

Ergonomics

To help each driver find a more comfortable driving position, the e-Golf has a telescoping steering wheel. Much better than just a tilt steering wheel or adjustable seat, this allows a short driver to sit further from the steering wheel while maintaining contact with the pedals. The Leaf doesn’t offer a telescoping steering wheel.

The power windows standard on both the e-Golf and the Leaf have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the e-Golf is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Leaf prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The e-Golf’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Leaf’s passenger windows don’t open or close automatically.

If the windows are left open on the e-Golf the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows with the driver’s door power window switch. The driver of the Leaf can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The e-Golf’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Leaf’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the e-Golf SEL Premium has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Leaf doesn’t offer cornering lights.

The e-Golf has a standard center folding armrest for the rear passengers. A center armrest helps make rear passengers more comfortable. The Leaf doesn’t offer a rear seat center armrest.

The e-Golf’s standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. The Leaf doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

Both the e-Golf and the Leaf offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the e-Golf has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Leaf doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

The e-Golf SEL Premium’s Parking Steering Assistant can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Leaf doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Recommendations

The Golf was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 13 of the last 13 years. The Leaf has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.

Motor Trend selected the Golf as their 2015 Car of the Year. The Leaf has never been chosen.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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